Learning Objectives Powerpoint: learning-obs-for-sit-and-dip-factors
We will be watching the following documentary =which introduces many interesting psychological concepts from the socio-cultural level of analysis and sets the stage for our first learning objective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk2-ZXAWkfg
The documentary introduced the idea that the social situation can be a powerful force in determining behaviour, eliciting actions, which we might never have predicted based on the individual’s personality.
The following clip reminds us of the horrors of the Holocaust and the TED talk reveals the some of the atrocities committed in Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad by American soldiers against the Iraqi prisoners. We discuss what sort of people engage in such horrific brutality and harm against others and whether we have a tendency to make dispositional or situational judgements and why.
By now you will have created posters about the studies of Milgram (1963) and Zimbardo (1973) and shared your findings in lesson. In both these studies it seems that the social situation over-rode people’s personalities leading them to commit brutal acts is against others. Milgram, a Jewish psychologists whose family had fled Nazi Europe, was inspired to explain the events of the Holocaust. Many before him had advocated the “Germans as different” hypothesis implying there was a flaw in their personalities, an ego weakness whereas the findings of Milgram’s study with American male Pps indicates that, in fact,he social situation may have been caused these acts of destructive obedience.
Situational factors that shaped this behaviour included…
- the presence of a perceived authority figure, a scientist in a lab coat
- the immediacy/proximity of the authority figure
- the prestigious nature of Yale university
- the graduated commitment, moving up the voltmeter in 15 v increments
- the “buffer” of the learner being in a separate room but the experimenter being in the same room
The booklet for this topic can be found here: sociocult-cognition-workbook-1
In lessons we will also be considering a famous modern replication of Milgram’s study conducted by Burger (2009) which looks at the role of two personality factors to see whether they have any impact on obedience to authority. This material could be very useful in your final answer. The following PowerPoint provides details of the study:
Original paper: burger-original
Milgram’s original research assistant gives his thoughts on the Burger study: elms-comment-on-burger
Dispositional factors which may influence action
- to learn more about extroversion/introversion and neuroticism: EPI.pdf
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzS_k2_fdpk Watch Child of Our Time: Personality Special here. This is the first clip of six and the you tube link will give you links to the other sections of the programme.
- to learn more about Adorno’s (1950) Authoritarian Personality Theory and the Fscale
It should be noted that not everyone administered the full 450V in Milgram’s study, in fact 35% of Pps were defiant, (although amazingly 100% went to 300 V). Similarly, there are real life examples of people finding ways to defy orders. For examplemOscar Schindler, was a Nazi officer who saved over a 1000 Jewish workers in his factory, his story is told in the famous film “Schindler’s List”. Likewise, the film Hotel Rwanda tells the story of Paul Rusebagina who saved a similar number of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in the hotel where he worked during the Rwandan genocide. This demonstrates that dispostional factors may explain some behaviour better than situational factors and the work booklet prompts you to think about which personality traits might be associated with this sort of behaviour.
- The Case of Kitty Genovese
- Piliavin et al (1969)
- Latane and Darley
Bystander Apathy in a New York Hospital real life example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lKUwBCIBzA
Individual differences in Bystander Behaviour: “The Everyday Hero”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9JcX2X7XnM Everyday heroes; Wesley Autry jumped in front of oncoming train to protect a man who had fallen onto the tracks.
Zimbardo’s book “The Lucifer Effect” explores whether situational factors could potentially elicit heroic behaviour from all of us.
http://www.lucifereffect.com/articles/heroism.pdf This article examines why some people become heroes in certain situations and whether it is possible to increase the likelihood that individuals will become heroes in the future.
When we reason about why people have behaved as they do, we are making an “attribution”, we are attributing their behaviour to situational or dispositional factors.
This handout introduces attribution theory including the role of situational and dispositional factors in explaining behaviour: What is attribution theory.doc
Some revision help
Outline the role of situational and dispositional factors in explaining one behaviour